Two sites in King County move forward on environmental cleanup for affordable housing


Cleaning up contaminated properties for redevelopment into affordable housing has a range of benefits for communities. More directly, it improves environmental health by removing or containing toxic chemicals. But it also helps keep the character of a neighborhood intact by making it more affordable for residents to continue living there. And it reduces sprawl by encouraging housing in already developed areas.

We are excited about two cleanup sites in King County that are to be redeveloped into affordable housing. Both are reaching key cleanup milestones this summer, and we invite the public to comment.

Boathouse, Inc. Renton Skyway Site

The Boathouse, Inc. site is in the Skyway neighborhood at the south end of Lake Washington. A dry-cleaning facility operated there from 1982 to 2002, and hazardous chemicals used by the company contaminated soil and groundwater.

With the help of a grant from Ecology’s initiative to support the cleanup of brownfields for use as affordable housing (officially launched earlier this year as the Affordable Housing Grant Program), the developer GardnerGlobal, Inc. intends to purchase the site and redevelop it into a mixed-use project called Skyway Towncenter. It will have approximately 250 housing units in total, including at least 50 affordable apartments, as well as a mix of retail, office and community space. Affordable housing will be available for rent at 60% to 80% of the region’s median income.

We are seeking public comment on two documents. One is the Prospective Buyer Consent Decree, which is a legal agreement that will obligate the developer to clean up the site while settling their liability. The second is the public participation plan, which describes how Ecology reaches out to the community. As this is a new cleanup site, we welcome your feedback on how best to reach those most affected by this cleanup. The public comment period is from July 18 to August 16, with an online public meeting on August 3. The meeting will have live interpretation in Amharic, Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Seventh Avenue Service

An aerial photo of the site.  A blue square delineates the site, while a red dotted area representing contamination overlaps the blue square.

We have a second site reaching a cleanup milestone this month, the Seventh Avenue Service site in Seattle’s International District. This property was used for car repair and refueling, with a petrol service station in operation from the 1930s to the 1970s. Soil at the site was contaminated with petrol.

A developer, 701 S Jackson Partners LLC, plans to clean up the site and redevelop it into commercial and affordable mixed-use housing. The developer plans to have approximately 202 units with rents targeted for households between 40% and 80% of the region’s median income. Demolition and excavation is expected to begin in the spring of 2023 and will be completed approximately four months after the start date.

Based on the planned redevelopment of the property into affordable housing, we developed a cleanup action plan to address the contaminated soil, including:

  • Demolish existing structures on the property
  • Remove any contaminated soil within the property boundaries; approximately 6,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be disposed of at a licensed off-site facility
  • Prevent exposure to remaining contamination under public control by filing an environmental clause that requires institutional and engineering controls and long-term monitoring

Our public comment period for this project will run from August 15 to September 13, with an online public meeting on August 17. The meeting will benefit from live interpretation services in Mandarin. During the comment period, we will be asking for your comments on the Cleanup Action Plan, Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, Prospective Buyer Consent Decree, and Public Participation Plan.

Links to documents, online feedback form and public meeting registration will be posted on August 15th.


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